The fuck is a Bug out Bag?
Picture yourself. You are in your car, and all of a sudden a disaster strikes. You are 50+ miles from your home, you can’t get back and you need to survive.
The Bug out Bag carries up to 3 days worth of supplies and other items designed to give you all you need to survive by yourself and increase your chances of recovering and being rescued.
A typical Bug out Bag. Note the survival bits, food, utensils and FAK.
Are there different types of Bug out Bags?
Well, yes and no. All Bug out Bags are essentially there to keep you alive. Some may have a bigger emphasis on self-defense so may carry an extra Pistol or rounds of ammunition. Others may have a Medical occupation and so will pack an advanced FAK (First Aid Kit) as opposed to the standard one most people carry. At the end of the day, it’s up to you. Just be comfortable you can use everything you pack.
- Choosing your bag.
- Survival hardware.
- Personal protection (overlap with ‘Survival hardware’ somewhat).
- ID and other essentials.
- Useful skills.
- Further reading.
You can use almost any bag as long as it is comfy, can carry a fair amount of gear and you can carry it comfortably for a few good miles. Don’t go for a poser, shitty bag. Go for a manly one with enough balls to put Chuck Norris to shame. Get one that screams “I MEAN FUCKING BUSINESS”.
Types of bags
Army ALICE packs
Popular in the Military from the 1970s, this design is good as you can buy extensions and other bits that clip on. Also you can pack a lot of stuff in there.
this is probably the best in terms of cost and durability. If the Army can use them, I’m sure you can for your pussy existance.
Average price: £30-£70 depending on new/used and size.
Overall rating: 8/10
These do not sacrifice space for comfort at all. If you spend and shop wisely you can find one which rests on you perfectly. If you adjust the weight distribution you can wear this thing for miles and not get tired. The trick is to shop around though. Always buy these bags in person as they are so different from one another.
Average price: £30-£150 depending on size/brand
Overall rating: 6-8/10 depending on the amount you carry and manouverability.
These particular types of backpacks have lots of dangly straps and fasteners for when you carry that oh-so-expensive-and-ridiculously-inappropriate-for-your-neighbourhood snowboard around with you. These are also useful for securing a Machete to as can be seen here, and have an average amount of space in. Certainly not the largest, but a moderate amount of space.
Average Price: £30-£70 depending on size/brand
Overall rating: 6/10 (low due to the extortionate prices which are a problem with certain brands)
In order for you to survive any given scenario, you will need to remember these 5 things:
If like me, you could just keep empty water bottles about. I usually keep a couple in the fridge topped up with cold water. Your body needs around 2 litres a day to keep replenished as you piss and sweat..and maybe even cry yourself that step closer to death.
Some good bottle brands, if you aren’t a cheapskate like me are:
Nalgene water bottles.
These bottles are almost indestructable. You could chuck your bag around as fuck knows comes flying at you and your liquids will still be fine.
Originally Posted by Nalgene Website
One of many designs
Average Price: £6-£15 depending on size and model.
Durability: 9/10. It’s not invincible.
Overall rating: 9/10. Not a must0have as you can make do with regular bottles, but if you have the cash, I advise an investment.
Collapsible Water containers.
Platypus do a line of water storage solutions that are like bags of water. You can fill them with litres of water and hang them, attack them to your bag or store them. You can also purchase semi-rigid containers for water from cheap-and-cheerful shops. of course, these are only useful if you are in a car, as liquid weighs a lot!
Average Price: £8-£20
Overall rating: 5/10. Not amazingly necessary.
Not all the shops will be open. What if shit really hits the fan? You’re gonna have to filter the water. Now you could either use Iodine tablets, or a water filter. Either one works, but the water filter is reusable up to a point (all filters are). Nasties are hiding in almost all bodies of water, and are microscopic in size. No point dying from the shits when you are hours from rescue, is there? Kinda embarrasing.
There are so many models it would be impossible for me to list even half of them here. Go explore! This guide is merely to remind you of what you need in your bag.
Average Price: £40-£100 depending on brand and “quality”. Don’t scrimpt too much if you want one. It could save your life!
Overall rating: 7/10
I am guessing “HURRDURR MILITARY RATIONS” come to mind here. Well, not everyone has the luxury or Military Rations, basement dweller. What the normal person would go for is as follows:
- Canned food. Bear in mind the weight.
- Beef Jerky. Full of protein and energy, plus it keeps well.
- Chocolate. Full of energy and other goodies.
- Peanuts. Full of carbohydrates and energy.
- Rations. Ok you can buy them on Amazon and other sites. Fuck off, go get them if you really want.
- Energy bars. You can get these at hiking/outdoor stores. They contain a fuckton of calories. Be careful and don’t eat too many.
- Pasta. You can boil it in your gear i will discuss later.
- Rice. As above.
- Ramen Noodles/Supernoodles.
- Stock cubes. To flavour the rice/Pasta.
- Boil-in-the-bag meals. Simple, really.
- Dried fruit. It keeps longer and is a nice treat.
What is important to remember is your calorie intake. By walking, you will be burning energy. You also need to look after yourself during the downtime by eating. Don’t be afraid to eat a lot if you can afford to. Just don’t walk straight after and get a stitch. Look after yourself.
As for carrying food, always take weight into mind, as well as any extra ingredients. Does that instant pasta and sauce pack also need milk and butter? Choose things you know you are comfortable with, and know yu can carry.
This section includes fire-lighting equipment, First Aid Kit (FAK), essential items and other things that are easy to carry and may make life that bit easier.
One of Man’s most basic skills. You need this to ward off hostile animals, signal, keep warm next to and heat your food on.
Bog standard. Unless you get the top/flint wet or damp you should be fine. You can always opt for the jet-flame ones, which work better in windy, exposed environments.
– Bic: £0.70
– Jet: £4.00
– Bic: 6/10
– Jet: 7/10
– Bic: 7/10. Very useful, just don’t get the flint wet.
– Jet: 8/10. Usually very hardy. Just keep an eye on the gas consumption level.
The ol’ faithful. If ever you did Scouts or whatever, you’ll know what one of these is. If you don’t have a lighter (which I highly suggest for a backup) then have one of these.
Average price: £3-£7
Overall rating: 10/10
Also useful to have is some cotton wool. Keep it compacted into a ziplock bag and you can use it instead of tinder to get a fire going.
- A Map. It’s essential and GPR may not work. Why take the risk?
Staying warm and clothing
- A big jacket that is both comfy and warm, plus you could sleep in.
- Thermal underlayers if the weather looks especially cold.
- 2 pairs of socks (nylon, preferably, as the sweat doesn’t linger).
- A hat (in case of the Sun).
- A bandana or Shemagh. they are useful for many other things than just wearing.
- 2 Shirts (1 x long sleeve, 1 x short sleeve?)
- 2 pairs of undies.
- A good pair of sturdy boots. Your feet are your vehicle. They go, you go. You die.
- Reflective/Hi-Viz jacket. You can hang it up and use it for signalling.
- Tarpaulin. You can construct a tent from this.
- Parachute cord. Cheap as chips on eBay and very useful for holding up shelters.
- Bedroll. Don’t sleep on the cold, damp ground.
First Aid Kit (FAK).
Note – No quantities are given here. You decide that. Also remember your own medication! Never mind anyone else, always look after #1.
- Painkillers. Keep a range, from Paracetamol to Nurofen, to Co-Codamol and whatever else. Different ailments have different responses to different pills with different people.
- Bandages. Obvious why, really.
- Eye pad.
- Non-Latex gloves.
- Duct tape.
- Medical Guide to common ailments.
- Antihistamine (Loratadine or Boots-own ‘Sleepeze’; as it contains Diphenhydramine)
- Cortisone Cream.
- Oral rehydration salts.
- Diamode/Anti-Diarrohea pills.
- Needle and thread.
- Isopropanol/Rubbing alcohol to sterilise instruments with.
- Iodine tablets.
- Steri-strips/WOund-closing strips.
Food is essential, yes. That said, so is the means of actually cooking it, if you don’t just survive on ready-to-eat packet meals.
- Mess tin. Army ones are fine. You will be amazed at what you can cook in just 1 tin at the same time!
- Hexi-burner stove. You can stockpile fuel tablets and they don’t weigh much at all.
- Cotton wool. As mentioned earlier instead of tinder.
- An alternative way of cooking over a fire. Create a way of resting your mess tin over a fire instead of a stove. The handle will be got, but it works if you have no fuel tablets. Use a trolley or something like a cage to allow heat/flames through and the mess tin to sit there.
- Enough cooking water. Don’t sacrifice your drinking water for cooking. Sure, you need it, but don’t lose count of the amount you have.
A reliable knife.
There is no definate answer here. The end result is something that works for you. Personally a 12″ machete does most things I want to except fine cuts.
– When choosing a knife, look for a good ‘tang’ – the metal part of the knife attached to the blade. the further back into the handle the tang goes, teh stringer the knife is and probably more durable it will be. If possible always go for a knife where the metal all the way through the handle.
– As for the handle, choose one with a good grip on. Polymer, rubber, wooden? Whatever suits you best. It’s you that will be using it.
– The blade should be made from Stainless Steel. Carbon Steel is alright and will hold its sharpness, but is more prone to rust. Stainless Steel is a worthwhile investment.
– The blade shape is an important factor, too. Also think of sharpening. If you want a serrated blade, it’s a bitch to sharpen, but you can cut tree branches with it. It’s a toss-up. Sacrifice one, gain another.
– The thinkness of the blade should not be lacking. Get one which doesn’t bend (obviously) and looks as though it will hold some abuse.
– The sixe of the blade should be between 6″-12″, but it all once again, depends on your use.
Now I am no expert on firearms. I am a British Citizen and we are curtailed by our laws of the land to effectively give the bad guys a chance. i will talk about weapons I have experienced, but feel free to analyse your own choices in the following ways.
.45 is a damn good man-stopping round. Chances are if you are walking/sneaking through an area, it will be another person who stops you and attempts to end your life. If you can get a couple of .45 rounds into them, then you have already won.
As for the Pistol, that is up to you.
Silent and potentially deadly if used accurately. Takes practice though.
If it is spring-powered or gas-ram then you can shoot as many pellets as you want! There is a loud noise upon firing though, potentially giving your position away. Good brands are Weirauch, Air Arms and Theoben. Pellets come in point, flathead, dome and hollowpoint rounds mostly. Air rifles are also useful for catching snimals to survive on if you need to.
Easy to attach to your bag. Just keep it hidden unless it truly is a shitstorm scenario.
Personal protection knife
A locked, 4″ blade will suffice here. Sure, go for the badass Rambo look if you want to, but if you wish to stab someone within close, surprise territory then this is the one for you. The lockable blade also means you can stab away and not take your fingers off!
CS Gas/OC Spray
It works. Just don’t be downwind and run!
Deployable Police Baton
These weigh a fair bit but can be carried on your belt. They go down to around 8″ and can be deployed up to 24″. Can inflict huge amounts of injury.
When a shitstorm hits, it’s always good to have a copy of your most important documents on you in case the Authorities question you to either figure what happened or whether you are injured.
Always have photocoopies of these documents/Contacts/forms of ID in your BoB:
- Passport. The page with yor photo and details in.
- Driving license.
- Medical card/records. Blood type, medical intolerances and background can save you in an emergency. Seconds save lives.
- Work ID. Especially if it is a Government job.
- Addresses. These are of you, your relations and children if they have left home.
- Emergency telephone numbers. Relatives, significant others etc. I am assuming you may need your BoB if you are in trouble and stranded, as well as GPS/3G networks still available.
Having extra knowledge always helps. These small “SAS Survival” guides are a great source of info, and can easily fit into your bag.
These are miscellaneous items but are also useful:
- Lightsticks/Glowsticks. Go for the 6″ Military ones as they last for ~12hrs, even if it says 8hrs on the pack.
- Vaseline. Petroleum Jelly. Need I say more?
- About £3 in change (10s, 20s and 50s) as you never know when it may come in handy.
- Condoms. Useful for storing water in temporarily.
- 2 tealight candles.
- Toilet roll. Self explanatory. Nice to have some home comforts and take the cardboard tube out to compact it further.
- Baby wipes. Freshen up!
- Half a pencil, a Biro and paper. Lined or plain, it doesn’t matter. You may want to keep a diary or write down instructions.
- Flashlight. LED is best.
- Fishing line/hook/SPAM + Marmite as bait (works wonders).
- Ordnance Survey Map or equivalent. Get a feel for the area you are in.
- Soap and flannel. In case you’re in for the long haul.
- Very optional: Fold-away shovel.
When lost in the wilderness, stranded miles from home or caught up in an event which means you are not in your arse watching telly and have to deal with real-life shit, it helps to know a few skills.
Learning First Aid is almost Universal. There are training courses for it in amost all major towns, so just keep an eye out. If not then you can apply to find out where classes are being held.
In an emergency, First Aid is the number 1 skill to have. Any help you can give Medics will be a weight off their shoulders and mean you can potentially save a life.
Map reading skills/Navigation skills
Knowing how to read a map is crucial to getting around anywhere. Even reading one incorrectly can mean you get lost and off target by a few degrees – but that equates to miles in real life.
Look, fag, we know you want to flex your muscles so we may as well get this over and donw with. Firearms training is helpful, yes, but so is helping people! Learn firearms training by all means – but don’t forget to preserve life by learning another skill. This alone is not sufficient.
Usefulness: 6/10, assuming you don’t learn anotehr skill.
Being able to walk great distances without breaking a sweat is quite a skill. Practice by walking at the weekends with a backpack on. Go farther each time and push yourself. Being abe to travel far without hassle is key to survival, as your body can use energy/resources more efficiently and you have a better chance of survival.
Assuming you are in a group, having the ability to take the lead and give initiative/responsibilities to a group is very useful. Learning group dynamics and people’s strengths/weaknesses is key to maximising their potential. Also, I don’t want to hear any of this shitty “manager speak” about teamwork and Political Correctness. Women make the food, Men make the defences and hunt. Ok? Ok.
Usefulness: 5/10, assuming you are alone.
Being able to actually carry the Bug out Bag is a challenge in itself. After you have packed it, it’s gonna weigh a fair bit. Do some weight and endurance training as this is crucial to your survival.
I have come across many websites which deal with Survivalism and Post-Apocalyptic Scenarios. Here are these sites, ebooks and other resources – nicely divided into sections just for you.
- How Stuff Works: Bug out Bag
- Survivalist.info – A random collection of useful Survivalist info.
- How to disappear in America without a trace
- Dropbox with some Academic Journals about Apocalypse-themed discussions (Only 2 as of yet, but get quick)
There are others. In fact, plenty others. I just don’t with to give undue advertising to them. Google is your biggest help.
26th february 2011